Go Organic Without Breaking the Bank

According to Consumer Reports’ Greener Choices, organic produce, meat and dairy products can cost 50% to 100% more than their conventional counterparts.

But there are some simple ways to save while buying these good-for-you products, according to Smart Money.

  • Set some priorities — Buy organic where it really makes a difference in the product’s quality.
  • Consider your alternatives — There are various levels of what is deemed “organic.” If you can live with some compromises, you’ll be able to save.
  • Shop on sale — Just like other food categories, organic foods go on sale regularly.
  • Try a farmer’s market — Locally produced foods have much lower costs (transportation, distribution, overhead, etc.) and thus can be sold for a lower price. Better yet, there are often fresher than alternatives.
  • Consider generics — several supermarket chains have their own lines of organic products and the list is growing as the category becomes more popular.

If you have any suggestions on how to buy organics cheaper, please share them in the comments.— FREE MONEY FINANCE

Buy Organic Without Breaking the Bank [Smart Money]

(Photo: Spidra Webster)


Edit Your Comment

  1. MalcoveMagnesia says:

    Is “avoid Whole Paycheck”, errr.. “Whole Foods” on that list also?

  2. homerjay says:

    Stop and Shop (Boston area) has been selling organic products for a long time now. I’ve bought their Apples and they’re flavorless. I try and try and try and they just taste like a whole lotta nuthin…

  3. overbysara says:

    join a csa farm.

  4. Antrack says:

    I’ve actually found that the organic produce and meats are usually cheaper at our Whole Foods than at our local Dominicks(Safeway). They sell “family packs” of organic chicken breasts, etc. And the organic produce goes on sale much more often.

    If you want to avoid spending the “Whole Paycheck,” simply plan to buy whatever produce or meat is on sale and avoid the prepared foods. We shop there weekly and we’re students.

  5. textilesdiva says:

    And depending on your needs/preferences, there’s always the old favorite: grow your own.

  6. Dustin says:

    Or simply don’t eat organic. Despite what the first sentence of the article says, organic is not healthier for you: [gmopundit.blogspot.com]

  7. timmus says:

    Yeah, but the article quibbles over nutritional aspects while ignoring the fact that conventional fruit/vegetables are going to have some pesticide residue, which may not come off completely during washing. I’ll take the lower nutrition rather than trace pesticides.

  8. MagicJewball says:

    Organics are always pricier for me than regular, even at the farmers’ market. So I just get the stuff that really matters. As a rule, fruit and veg with soft skins (like nectarines) absorb more pesticides. Here’s a pocket guide you can carry around.


  9. hustler says:

    I prefer farmer markets and “mexican” food stores. They have great meat counters and produce typically…and the best tortiallas of course.

  10. lyndyn says:

    Buy organic flour and make your own bread. It still breaks out cheaper than grocery store loaf bread, and comes with a warm, happy feeling. Making bread is not nearly as hard or as time-consuming as most people think it is.

    Anything that can be bought in bulk. Granola, pasta, turbinado sugar instead of white sugar, teas and coffees (organic, free-trade coffee will always be more expensive than Folger’s, but it’s easy to find consistent sources for as low as $7 or $8/lb).

    The best, cheapest way to get drug-free, free-range meat – even after the cost of gas and the deep-freeze’s electricity is counted in – is to buy it from the farmer. Same with produce, generally, but not always – a lot of chain grocery stores are getting on the local-food bandwagon and buying their produce from local farmers, and it’s often also organic (though not neccessarily certified). King Soopers is good IIRC, and any store in the Southeast that carries the Appalachian Harvest brand.

  11. whereismyrobot says:

    Wall Street Journal did a piece on when buying organic makes sense and when it doesn’t. It’s a pretty good read.

    Personally, the only organic thing I buy is milk, because it lasts longer and tastes better. As a vegetarian who eats about 50% veggies, I can’t afford to buy organic.

  12. bohemian says:

    We get half gallons of organic milk for $2.99 all the time. One of the locations of the chain in our area has their store brand organic on sale about every other week. It is usually $3.65 to $4.00 at the other locations.

    Instead of buying organic butter, I just rarely use butter and buy the store brand.

    Growing your own is always better and cheaper if you have the room to do it.

  13. randombob says:

    @Dustin –
    Organic not healthier? really? sources not funded by the agribusiness machine seem to “think different” on that subject. See your very own consumerist.com for more details!

    I’ll save you the trouble of an extra click and link to the JACN study:

    Also see here:

    Yeah, safe to say I disagree with your sentiment. I fail to see how 40 years of human “engineering” can somehow do better than BILLIONS of years of nature’s way & BILLIONS of years of evolution, both by the plants & those eating it.

  14. hundredflowers says:

    Buying in bulk is a great way to keep costs down. Cutting down on the additional packaging is another plus.

    If you’re lucky enough to live near a food co-op, you’ll have access to organic bulk bins offering everything from staples like flour to snacks like sesame tamari tortilla chips.

    Member co-ops are voluntary organizations composed of individuals formed for their mutual benefit (some co-ops are tiny, some have thousands of members). Some co-ops offer an additional discount for weekly volunteer hours and you get the satisfaction of knowing that your money is staying in your community.

    Also, most co-ops have GREAT beer selections!

    Check out the co-op directory service and learn about a whole new way to shop.


  15. Hamm Beerger says:

    @randommob –

    First, 40 years is a ridiculously short underestimate. Humans have been engineering their food sources for thousands of years. We can just do it more selectively and quickly now.

    Second, why shouldn’t 40 years be enough time to improve on billions of years of evolution? Life expectancy has gone up dramatically in the last 40 years, worldwide computer communication was invented less than 40 years ago, crop yields per acre have skyrocketed in the last 40 years, I could go on an on.

    What arbitrary length of time does it take before you accept progress as a good thing?

  16. forgeten says:


    Conclusions: We suggest that any real declines are generally most easily explained by changes in cultivated varieties between 1950 and 1999, in which there may be trade-offs between yield and nutrient content.

    This has nothing to do with organic v. conventional it has to do with the type of the vegetable. The last link says organic food has more nutrients but doesn’t say if they are the same variety of the vegetables.

  17. if you are in the UK you to can save money on organic produce – join a box scheme or visit the increasing number of farmers markets [www.whyorganic.org]
    and [www.farmersmarkets.net] are both great directories of UK food.
    if you are a planner of food then it can save you money by simply not going to the supermarkets unless you have to. Plan a fortnight or a months menu in advance and shop locally.
    With regard to the off topic virtues of organic v pesticides, remember the saying ‘tastes like it use to’

  18. randombob says:

    Still the point remains, if you’re shopping grocery store chains, where they offer no choice & make their stocking/growing decisions based on which variety keeps better/grows faster, you’re locked out of more nutritious alternatives by default.

    Organics (usually) have better selection. Esp. Farmer’s Markets.

  19. nardo218 says:

    Produce stores. $1.50 for tomatos in July is obscene – 79 cents a pound is typical. 59 is really good.

  20. Hamm Beerger says:

    Still the point remains, the best way to save money on organics is not to buy them.

  21. Andy Guerra says:


    Just wanted to share. Buying organic food is one SURE way of not buying genetically modified food. Just in case anyone was interested.